First, it is important to understand what emotional abuse is. Emotional abuse is a manipulative attack on your emotional self. It is the act of using someone’s vulnerabilities to exploit their emotional stability.
Sound confusing? It is. And it is the most confusing for the person experiencing this manipulative attack.
That is why to begin this topic, we will be discussing the emotions that follow this type of abuse. The first is extreme confusion in the form of self doubt. When we are being emotionally abused, our sense of self slowly diminishes. We become confused about who we are, if we are truly a good person and if we matter at all. We may begin to feel that our existence doesn’t matter or even worse, that our existence is troubling to others and those we love might be better off without us.
This is why those who are suffering from extreme emotional abuse or covert narcissistic abuse are often suicidal and reclusive.
Another form of the confusion that follows this type of abuse is feeling like a fraud. When we are being emotionally abused, we are being brain washed into believing that nothing we stand for is real or important. Any attempt we make to better ourselves is being covertly criticized or mocked while at the same time being encouraged through chosen words. For example, A woman may be part of a spiritual group where she is challenged to be aware of her emotions and as her mate feels intimidated by the self awareness occurring, he will speak out loud about her impressive discoveries and then later mock her teacher as being a kook. In this scenario, he is not directly insulting his mate but indirectly insulting what she is learning by dismissing the effectiveness of the teacher. When she attempts to stand up for herself in this scenario, he might say, “I didn’t say anything was wrong with you. Stop being so sensitive.” She will feel defeated and unable to articulate why she feels attacked.
This above example explains the every day experience for someone in this type of relationship and although it might not seem like much in one interaction, after hundreds and thousands of these, the sense of self is very worn down and submissive. At this point, the abused is unable to explain why she feels lost, ill, insecure, judged, defeated, confused, sad, and angry because she has been unable to track the abuse in the way someone who is being physically abused can. This makes it very difficult for therapists to treat and even harder for the abused to heal.
If you are feeling confused at all, I encourage you to begin writing. Get a journal and a safe place to hide it. When you are alone, write down EXACTLY what happened in your interactions where you felt attacked. Leave nothing out. This will start to help you dissect what is happening to you and help you gain clarity. Clarity is THE POWER! She who has clarity has the power. I challenge you to find the manipulative code that your abuser is using. And I challenge you further to NOT talk to him about it. Keep it to yourself as you establish strength within your understanding. She who communicates her discoveries to an emotional abuser loses her clarity and therefore loses her strong center. Why?
Because an abuser instinctively knows how to penetrate your insecurities. Period. Keep your discoveries to yourself.